Each Thursday over the summer, The Juice Online will be counting down the top 10 moments in the 2012-13 basketball season. We continue our countdown with No. 2, defeating Indiana to advance to the Elite 8.
WHAT HAPPENED: The last time Syracuse faced Indiana in the NCAA tournament, it took head coach Jim Boeheim 16 years to forget.
When the two teams met in the tournament again 26 years later, Boeheim created a better memory.
Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone baffled and frustrated Indiana, holding the Hoosiers to their lowest offensive output of the season, and the Orange advanced to the Elite 8 with a 61-50 win.
“We’re very long, and we’re very active,” said Syracuse guard Brandon Triche, who chipped in with 14 points. “When we’re active like we were today, we’re hard to score on.”
Indiana shot just 33 percent from the field and 20 percent from downtown.
It helped ease Boeheim’s memory of the 1987 title game when a Keith Smart buzzer beater robbed Boeheim of his first title. Boeheim had said before that he couldn’t get over the game until he won it all in 2003.
It didn’t take long for Syracuse to take control, jumping out to an early 11-3 lead, holding Indiana without a field goal through the first five minutes. That lead would balloon to 29-11 just before halftime.
To put into perspective how good SU’s defense was, the Orange held Indiana to just 78.1 points per 100 possessions. The Hoosiers had come in averaging 117.4 points per 100 possessions, the second-most efficient in the nation according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Indiana would get to within six points early in the second half before Michael Carter-Williams scored 10 of his game-high 24 points during a critical 14-3 run. It was one of Carter-Williams’ best offensive nights, as he shot 3 for 6 from 3-point land.
“He hasn’t made the 3 (all year long), they were going under on the screen,” Boeheim said. “I just said stop and take a 3 and he made a couple of them. He’s a different player when he can make that shot.”
WHY IT’S NO. 2: While nothing will ever quite take away the memory of Keith Smart’s shot in the 1987 championship game, it’s always nice when Syracuse can beat Indiana in the NCAA tournament. The win was especially sweet because most prognosticators picked Indiana to beat SU. Instead, the Hoosiers were no match for the 2-3 zone, which became a familiar theme throughout the tournament. It also marked the first time in program history that the Orange notched back-to-back Elite 8 appearances.